Kobe Bryant played six minutes in the Lakers first exhibition game in London, after which he sat with ice on his knees.
Londoners chanted his name in the second half, but they got more Pau Gasol. Kobe played the six minutes he did out of obligation to the fans, his knees need more rest and recovery following offseason surgery.
Surgery he needed because those knees were sore. Lakers.com reporter Mike Trudell had these postgame comments from Kobe on Twitter:
Kobe said his knee was “extremely, extremely painful during the NBA Finals.” Said he feels better, but is at about “60%” tonight.
Kobe Bryant: “I wanted to get up and get in” when the chants came. “But I had the ice on the knees. Couldn’t get back in.”
Kobe did drag those knees to a finals MVP performance, but it’s another sign these Lakers are built to win now — the next handful of years — and then the window closes. Kobe is 32 with a lot of miles on him, Derek Fisher is 36 and Gasol, Artest, Odom, basically all the key Lakers outside Andrew Bynum are 30 or older. The Lakers may be younger than the Celtics but really only by a couple years.
Kobe will play sparingly in the preseason. Come Oct. 26 and the opener against the Rockets, expect 30 some minutes. Whether his knees are ready or not.
ProBasketballTalk’s Kurt Helin explains why he believes the Sacramento Kings have enough pieces to potentially make a run at the final playoff spot in the West.
A lot of people around the NBA have ideas to improve the draft, free agency and the D-League, and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has never been shy about sharing his. His latest idea seems pretty logical: a supplemental draft for undrafted free agents.
Via Hoops Rumors:
“I would have a supplemental draft every summer for undrafted free agents of the current and previous 3 years,” Cuban wrote in an email to Hoops Rumors. “If you are more than 3 years out you are not eligible and just a free agent.”
The supplemental draft would have two rounds, and teams would hold the rights to the players they select for two years, Cuban added. Players can opt out and choose not to make themselves eligible, but those who get picked would receive fully guaranteed minimum-salary contracts when they sign, according to Cuban’s proposal.
“That would make it fun a few weeks after the draft and pre-summer league,” Cuban wrote. “It would prevent some of the insanity that goes on to build summer league rosters.”
It’s an interesting proposition. Most undrafted players who sign during the summer don’t get guaranteed contracts, so when deciding to enter this supplemental draft, they would have to weigh the value of having guaranteed money versus getting to decide where they sign. It’s unlikely that anything like this could happen anytime soon, because of all the hoops to jump through to get the league and the players’ union to sign off on it, but it’s a worthwhile idea that deserves some consideration in the next CBA negotiations.